It is news the membership of Weyburn Golf Club (WGC) has been waiting to hear. The course announced last week on their Facebook page that they will install a Rainbird irrigation system on the front nine holes this year.
Club Vice-President Marshall Bakken has been playing the WGC for a couple decades and been on the board for four years. He said the news that the club will go ahead with the first phase of the renovations is very exciting.
“This has been talked about for probably 15 years,” he told Golf Saskatchewan. “For the membership base this has been smoke and mirrors, talked about, talked about with nothing really happening. This was one of my goals in joining the board was to get this project off the ground and finally get it to happen.”
The project is expected to take about 40 days and will see the work done in August and September with a couple of holes being affected at a time during the construction. The new system will include HDPE pipe with approximately 300 sprinkler heads on the front nine of the course.
The club was busy last year and saw a revenue increase that allowed them to save some money for the project however the WGC still needed a loan. The membership needed to vote on borrowing the funds but was passed unanimously at their annual general meeting in March. Bakken said the excitement is evident and the course will see benefits for decades.
“We’ve been so dry down here the last couple years, with last year how busy golf was and our irrigation system giving us issues the last five to 10 years, especially the last few we’ve put a lot of man hours in to fixing it. With the dry conditions you lose green fee players and members because they do not want to play a course that is dried out. I think financially this is really going to help. Having constant irrigation on the course is going to be huge for our membership and green fee players,” he said.
There are several courses to play in the Weyburn area including TS&M Woodlawn in Estevan, Golf Kenosee, Whitebear First Nation, and Avonlea’s Long Creek. Bakken said he’d like to see a day where the WGC can be compared to Woodlawn again in the future.
“I compare us to Woodlawn and that course is in great shape since they’ve done their renovation in 2011 with a new irrigation system for Bob (Currie, superintendent) to utilize. You jst see the improvements they make there year after year and at the end of the day their membership has grown substantially because of that. I’d love to say in 10 years we’re comparable to Woodlawn for sure,” Bakken added.
The cost of the entire 18-hole irrigation system is estimated at $1 million which is why the board and membership decided to bite off a smaller chunk. The key now is to work this season raising funds. Bakken said they will sell the sprinkler heads and provide recognition on the course plus a tiered system of sponsorship that will be displayed in the clubhouse.
The goal is to have the whole course redone with a pumphouse in the next three to five years.